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Council approves move to fund Wild Dog Exclusion Fencing

The Balonne Shire Council today made an historic decision to support an application to the State Government for funding for Wild Dog Exclusion Fencing (WDEF).

Councillors voted unanimously to support Shire landholders wanting to fence their properties through a special rate levied over 20 years.

Council will now submit a borrowing application to the Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs. If approval is gained then Council will seek a loan for approximately $8 million from the Queensland Treasury Corporation to fund the scheme.

Initially Council will draw down $5 million with the remaining $3 million requiring a Council resolution.

Mayor Richard Marsh said the councillors had made the bold decision to stand with its landholders to ensure a more sustainable and diverse economy which in turn will boost employment, increase population and community wellbeing.

“We have discussed the scheme in depth with staff and State Government bodies to ensure we fully comprehend the scheme and what it entails,” he said.

“We now just have to wait for approval from the Minister before we move forward with our plans.”

Cr Marsh said Council would host a forum on 13 March for those landholders who lodged an expression of interest in the scheme.

“We will walk those landholders through the process and explain the ins and outs of what was involved in making an application for this funding,” he said.

“At the forum we will distribute an information pack to those participating and provide landholders with an opportunity to ask questions about the scheme.

 “Council will recoup this 20-year fixed interest rate loan through participating landholders via a special rate levied on their property.

 “We believe WDEF in our shire will provide many ongoing benefits including boosting our economy and economic resilience, arresting population decline through increasing job numbers and improving biosecurity over the whole of the shire by closing fencing gaps and pest access corridors.

“Based on the expressions of interest Council has received we expect the WDEF to increase sheep numbers by an estimated 100,000 and boost our regional economy by $15 million per year within 10 years – which is an excellent return on our investment in the region.”